5 Galapagos travel tips that you should know before your trip
Here are 5 Galapagos travel tips you should keep in mind to optimize your time, money and experiences on your trip.
Before taking the advice into consideration, I recommend that you bring 20, 10, 5, 1 dollar bills. Most establishment do not accept 100 or 50 dollar bills. Ecuador’s currency is the US Dollar, so all cashiers will give you dollars.
GALAPAGOS TRAVEL TIPS – BEFORE TRAVELING TO THE GALAPAGOS:
- USE OF CREDIT CARDS
- PRICE OF FLIGHTS TO THE GALAPAGOS
- ENTRY TO THE GALAPAGOS
- GALAPAGOS AIRPORTS
- ENJOY THE GALAPAGOS WITH NO COMPLAINTS
- RULES IN THE GALAPAGOS
- EN: VIAJAR A LAS GALAPAGOS
The Galapagos Islands
CREDIT CARDS: AVOID USING THEM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
This is an important Galapagos travel tip! On some islands, there is a network of scammers who are committing credit card fraud. It is still unknown exactly how they operate, but while the passengers are enjoying a daily tour, their credit cards are used to make unauthorized transactions and the passengers do not find out until they get back to their home countries. Hotels tend to blame tour agencies and vice versa.
Here are some travel tips to avoid falling victim to this scam:
▪ Do not bring any documents or credit cards on the daily tours. Only take necessary cash to tip the crew.
▪ If a travel agency, operator or hotel asks you to e-mail your credit card information, look for another company that has another means to charge you.
▪ Find hotels that have a safe-deposit box to leave your credit cards while you are traveling around the Islands.
▪ If you can, take cash. There are a few ATMs on Santa Cruz Island, San Cristóbal and, on Isabela Island, there is one ATM but it’s frequently out of service.
PRICE OF FLIGHTS TO THE GALAPAGOS
If you’re neither Ecuadorian nor a resident of Ecuador, the price of your plane tickets will increase by approximately $150. However, Ecuadorians who aren’t residents of the Galapagos only pay around $180-$250 (total) for a flight. Look for offers with airlines LATAM, AVIANCA or TAME.
THE ENTIRE PROCESS FOR ENTRY TO THE GALAPAGOS
Here’s a walkthrough Galapagos travel tip: Before checking in with your airline (on-line is not possible), look for the Galapagos immigration offices at the airport in Guayaquil or Quito. At the office you will see two lines. In the first line, you can check your bags and the second line takes you to a migration window where you can buy the transit control card that costs USD 20. The value of the card is the same for all Ecuadorians or foreigners, even if they are minors. After this, you can check in at the airline.
(Do not lose your Immigration Control Card! You will have to present it when you take your return flight)
Once the flight lands in either of the two Galapagos airports (Baltra Island or San Cristobal), you must pay the entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park, which is $6 USD for Ecuadorians, $50 USD for those from the Andean community and Mercosur, and $100 USD for foreigners. Minors pay half the value of the entrance fee.
It is NOT obligatory to complete the TCT Pre-Registration online to enter Galapagos because you can do it directly at the airport, but I recommend you to do it at this link (use the Firefox browser to enter the information), because it will save you time at the window with the attending officer. All you need to do is have your passport or identity card on hand, and the return flight ticket can be printed or digital. Another way to speed things up is by paying the $20 in cash; paying with a card takes much longer and the people behind you in line start to get really impatient!
FROM A GALAPAGOS AIRPORT TO YOUR HOTEL
The San Cristobal airport is very close to the downtown area of San Cristobal Island. A taxi will take you to your hotel for only $2 USD and you’ll arrive in just 2 minutes.
In contrast, the airport of Baltra (by/on Santa Cruz Island) is actually on a nearby island to the north of Santa Cruz Island. As soon as you arrive at the airport in Baltra, you pay the entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park, grab your suitcase and outside you’ll find the “Lobitos” buses waiting to take you to the Baltra dock/port (current cost is USD 5 one way). From there, you must take a ferry that charges you USD 1 to cross to the Itabaca dock on Santa Cruz Island.
Once at the Santa Cruz dock, you’ll see buses for $5 USD or taxis for $30 USD (you can share the ride and split the price with up to 4 people), take you to Puerto Ayora where most of the accommodations are. Puerto Ayora is the central part of Sant Cruz Island.
On my last trip with my family to Santa Cruz Island, I booked my taxi well in advance, with Taxi Express Galápagos.The taxi driver was waiting for us at the Itabaca canal holding a sign with my name on it. Then I used his services for my entire mobilization in Santa Cruz. Write to Taxi Express Galápagos on Whatsapp and reserve your Taxi in advance.
ENJOY THE GALAPAGOS WITHOUT COMPLAINTS
Some of the main complaints that tourists make about the Galapagos are that they didn’t see the animals they liked, that the water was too murky for snorkeling and that everything is too expensive (to name a few!).
Please remember that the Galapagos is not a zoo where wild animals are caged for the public’s enjoyment, where you might be able to touch them, feed them or take a picture with a (likely sedated) animal.
Animals and fish in Galapagos ARE FREE and, if you are lucky, you will see them along the way, on a daily tour, or at a beach. RESPECT THEM, don’t chase them, don’t feed them, keep a distance of 2 meters between yourself and the animal, don’t take pictures using flash…in short, DON’T MESS WITH THEM.
The other thing is that the ocean currents don’t send a Whatsapp message to the guides’ to say: I’m sending you a lot of current today and the water will be murky, so don’t snorkel.
If you have a good attitude and the right energy, Galapagos will show itself differently to each person.
GALAPAGOS WITH CHOKOTRIP
Below are a few links to different types of content related to the Galapagos, including a few guides. All of this content is updated and based on my annual trip to the Islands.
RULES THAT YOU MUST RESPECT IN GALAPAGOS